We’re continuing our guide to controlling hardware from Ableton Live, where Martin Delaney introduces MIDI clip and the arpeggiator to the mix. Make sure to catch up on part 1 here.
7. Then choose the correct inputs on your audio interface to receive audio back in. You can set input gain levels within the device. Don’t let those levels peak red!
8. Once this is set up, you can use notes in a Live MIDI clip, or play a connected keyboard or even Live’s virtual MIDI keyboard, to send notes out and see if you’re getting a response.
9. A lot of MIDI hardware has an activity indicator, so you should be able to see if it’s receiving MIDI, if you can’t hear anything, which is useful for troubleshooting.
10. Once this is working smoothly, save the audio-effect device as a preset, named after the piece of hardware (that’s how I do it, anyway). That means it’s easy to recall the setup at any time.
11. Your hardware routing is then recalled and configured instantly, just like an instrument plug-in. If you put it into an instrument rack with Cmd-G, you can then add MIDI and audio effects, too.
12. Live’s MIDI effect devices are awesome and they’ll really expand what you can do with hardware. The arpeggiator and chord devices can add a lot of movement to keyboard parts.
13. The arpeggiator can also do some interesting things with drum machines, giving you a new way of creating beats and breaks. A few arpeggiated drum parts in a rack can sound amazing.
14. Of course, you can apply audio effects to the incoming audio. You might use more ‘showy’ effects such as filters and delays, or else more practical ones like EQ, utility, limiters and compression.
15. You can end up with a recallable rack that contains routings to and from your hardware, MIDI effects, audio effects and any third-party plug-ins you want to add as well.
16. You can then save all of this again, and recall it all later, ready to rock – that’s as long as you remember to switch on your hardware, that is…
17. If you’re sending sync from Live to your hardware, then any time-based parameters on it will follow along with Live’s timing, whether they be beats, onboard arpeggiators or delay effects.
18. We’re using a MIDI track for this, so you’ll need an audio track to record it. Create a new audio track and use the In/Out View to select the source track, then arm it.